By Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jane Marie Todd, Maurice Olender
Anthropology Confronts the issues of the trendy World is the 1st English translation of a chain of lectures Claude Lévi-Strauss added in Tokyo in 1986. Written with an eye fixed towards the longer term as his personal wonderful occupation was once drawing to a detailed, this quantity offers a synthesis of the author’s significant principles approximately structural anthropology, a box he helped determine. Critiquing insights of his past writings at the dating among race, historical past, and civilization, Lévi-Strauss revisits the social matters that by no means ceased to fascinate him.
He starts off with the commentary that the cultural supremacy loved via the West for over centuries is at an finish. international wars and genocides within the 20th century have fatally undermined Western religion in humanity’s development via medical development. Anthropology, notwithstanding, may be the car of a brand new “democratic humanism,” broadening conventional frameworks that experience limited cross-cultural understandings of the human situation, and offering a foundation for inquiries into what different civilizations, akin to these of Asia, can teach.
Surveying a global close to the twenty-first century, Lévi-Strauss assesses many of the dilemmas of cultural and ethical relativism a globalized society faces—ethical dimensions of monetary inequality, the increase of other kinds of non secular fundamentalism, the promise and peril of genetic and reproductive engineering. A laboratory of notion establishing onto the longer term, Anthropology Confronts the issues of the fashionable World is a crucial addition to the canon of 1 of the twentieth-century’s such a lot influential theorists.
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Extra info for Anthropology Confronts the Problems of the Modern World
In that case, the remaining quarter will rediscover conditions of existence not so different from those of the vanishing soÂ�ciÂ�eÂ�ties of which I have spoken. Even setting aside such terrifying hypotheses, we may wonder whether soÂ�ciÂ�eÂ�ties that are becoming enormous, each on its own behalf, and which are tending to become identical to one another, will not inevitably recreate within themselves differences situated along lines other than those where the similarities are developing. Perhaps there is an optimal diversity that, evÂ�erywhere and always, imposes itself on humanity, so that it may remain viable.
Biological ties provide the model on which kinship relations areÂ€conceived, but these relations also provide a logical clasÂ�siÂ�fiÂ�caÂ�tion system, a mental framework. That framework, once conceived, makes it possible to sort individuals into preestablished categories, assigningÂ€ to each his or her place within the family and Â�society. And fiÂ�nally, these relations and notions pervade the entire field of life and social activities. Real, postulated, or inferred, they entail rights and duties that are well deÂ�fined and different for each type of related individual.
The anthropologist readily acknowledges that, to achieve a more thorough knowledge of a certain type of phenomenon, it is indispensable that he divide up the whole, just as the jurist, the economist, the demographer, and the poÂ�litÂ�iÂ�cal scientist do. But what the anthropologist seeks is the common form, the invariant properties that reveal themselves behind the most diverse kinds of social life. To illustrate with an example certain considerations that may appear overly abstract, let us see how an anthropologist apprehends a few aspects of Japanese culture.